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Ironhead Sportster Motorcycle Talk (1957-1985) For all those that wanna talk about Ironhead Sportster Motorcycles

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  #11  
Old 16th February 2020
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Harley Doesn't make oil, I have read that they put out a spec and request bids.
Originally there were lots of small time oil companies and you never could be certain of the content of the oil can so Harley had their own oil formulated to their spec.
I still believe their (dinosaur) oil is superior to many of the over the counter oils currently marketed.
Even stuff marketed by aftermarket suppliers as "Harley" oil. (especially the 20W50 varieties)
Crap turns to water when hot. A Harley motor is not pressure lubed and does not rely on a hydraulic wedge, it has roller bearings and bushings, so the oil has to be looked at differently.
A Harley's oil has a couple of tasks that are critical, a Harley motor is "Oil Cooled" more than air cooled. Another critical task is cushioning, keeping the rollers separated and not squeezing/running out of the bushings. You want an oil that clings to the parts not just falls to the bottom when hot.
There are not many oil marketed that have those qualities
Harley oil is the easiest to find
Brad Penn (previously Kendal, now Penn Grade)
Silkolene
Valvoline VR1 50w

A properly prepared Harley (not tin cover models) does not leak, it might seep some but not lube the rear tire. How much it leaks is a testament to it's preparers mechanical skills. (excluding the tin cover models).

Oil leaks are usually a sign of something coming apart, or incorrectly assembled.
Gasket sealer is not needed, especially silicone sealer! (except for one place on an ironhead)
So the axiom that Harleys mark their spot is a misnomer carried over from the days of total loss oiling. (tin cover models excluded and anything earlier)
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  #12  
Old 16th February 2020
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" A properly prepared Harley (not tin cover models) does not leak, it might seep some but not lube the rear tire. How much it leaks is a testament to it's preparers mechanical skills. (excluding the tin cover models). "
Agreed. My 71 XLCH does not leak at all. After an all day ride I do notice some seepage from the kicker shaft seal but never drops on the ground or garage floor.
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Old 16th February 2020
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Yep kicker shaft seal is one of the weak spots, as is the drive sprocket splines.
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Old 16th February 2020
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I always get some drops from the end of the vent tube after a ride. I’ve come to accept that as normal since I’m fairly certain the oil slinger is just a fender washer instead of the original part.
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